What’s in a Name? ‘Titanic II’ Sinks During Maiden Voyage

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A 16-foot cabin cruiser named Titanic II sank during its maiden voyage on Monday, echoing the greatest maritime disaster in history. Well, sort of.

When Mark Wilkinson of Birmingham, the owner of Titanic II, took his boat out on a fishing trip in West Bay in Dorset, it sank—with him in it—when he returned to the harbor. He was not sailing over frigid waters, and no one is sure if his heart will indeed go on. Yet the bizarre coincidence involving his boat’s infamous moniker was duly noted.

“It’s all a bit embarrassing and I got pretty fed up with people asking me if I had hit an iceberg,” Wilkinson, 44, told British newspaper The Telegraph.

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When Wilkinson returned to the harbor on his second-hand boat (worth about $1,600), it sprung a leak. U.K. newspaper The Sun reported that a large hole opened up in the fiberglass hull. Soon, the stern of the boat was fully submerged in water. As the small cruiser went down stern-first, Wilkinson abandoned ship when a harbor master threw in a life preserver attached to a rope.

Unlike the more tragic Titanic sinking of 1912, eyewitnesses on dry land were plenty. Said one: “It wasn’t a very big boat—I think an ice cube could have sunk it!”

Ninety-nine years ago, the luxury ocean liner RMS Titanic sank on its maiden voyage after it hit an iceberg in waters off Newfoundland. The disaster claimed the lives of 1,517 people. The youngest of the ship’s 705 survivors passed away in 2009.

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